Michel Houellebecq, the French writer among the most translated abroad, is back in bookstores with "Serotonin". A book-event of the return to literature that seems to have anticipated the revolt of yellow vests.
It is a dark and poignant work that Michel Houellebecq gives us for this autumn. In "Serotonine" (Flammarion), the terrible child of French literature plunges its readers into the heart of rural France. Written before the appearance of yellow vests, the novel seems to have anticipated this movement that no politician had seen coming.
The writer, who recently praised the protectionism of Donald Trump, draws red balls on the liberal policy of the European Union guilty in his eyes of all evil.
Despite the pornographic scenes (the praise of the next fellatio with the description of a "gang bang" canine, we meet a German pedophile …), the novel by Michel Houellebecq is eminently romantic.
In addition to the description of a ruthless social violence, the heart of the book speaks of an intimate violence just as terrible: that of a selfish man that the failure of his love life led to depression. We leave his reading upset.
The novelist had not published anything since the controversy "Submission", published four years ago, the day of the attack against Charlie Hebdo. In all editions, this book has sold nearly 800,000 copies.
With an exceptional circulation of 320,000 copies, the seventh novel of the French writer among the best known and translated abroad, is already almost assured to become a European bestseller. He will be released in Germany on January 7th and in Italy on the 10th.
"Prophet of Yellow Vests"
The book has already reacted strongly to the international press, which sees him as the "prophet of yellow vests". Michel Houellebecq is "back with a novel that highlights the anger that has long raged in the French provinces," notes The Sunday Times. For the Spanish newspaper El Pais, "one of the central scenes is the blockage of a highway by farmers angry against Paris (…) and the European Union, 'big whore', in the words of the narrator. The protest ends with a bloody confrontation with the police, as if the Houellebecquien seismograph had anticipated "the clashes that have marked the news of the last months.
The writer does nothing less than "predict the tragic fate of Western civilization," said The Telegraph.
After having long considered "the anti-liberal beliefs of the greatest French author of the moment" as a "literary gadget", the German weekly Die Zeit says for its part that "now, we must take it seriously".
In Italy, where his novels are regularly at the top of sales, the Corriere della Sera believes that "the greatest living French writer achieves the miracle of putting his embarrassment, his disgust towards the contemporary world in the service of moving pages". "In Serotonin as in any other of his novels, Houellebecq turns out to be a great romantic, a quality not always recognized."